Black Woman Sues Bank for Discrimination after Casino Win Check Rejected

Black Woman Sues Bank for Discrimination after Casino Win Check Rejected

19 Sep

A 71-year-old black woman in Michigan is suing a bank because they refused to cash her winning casino check, the refusal sparking memories of discrimination from her childhood in Alabama…

Lizzie Pugh was looking forward to celebrating a $12,000 slots win she landed during a church outing to the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

However, when three different employees of the Fifth Third Bank in Livonia all refused to accept her check from the casino, Lizzie was left distraught.

CNN revealed how her attempts to open a savings account with the casino winnings were blocked by bank employees who told her the check was fraudulent.

All three employees were described as being white, and none of them tried to contact the casino to verify whether or not the check with the Soaring Eagle logo was legal.

Pugh, who lived in Alabama during segregation, had asked the first two employees – who wanted to keep the check – to call 911 as she refused to leave without her check or the money.

Her attorney, Deborah Gordon, told reporters:

“What happened to Ms. Pugh is yet another example of the hurdles and indignities facing Black Americans as they try to get through the day. It is not only young Black men who are profiled. Fortunately, Michigan has a strong statute prohibiting discrimination in ‘public accommodations,’ including banks.” Lizzie Pugh’s niece, Yolanda McGee, told CNN of the effects of her aunt’s childhood discrimination. “She is afraid to go in any bank or any type of business. She had some events in her life from living back in Alabama as a young girl where she’s been discriminated against, and you know it’s heavy on her heart.” The owners of the bank involved, Fifth Third Financial Corporation, have denied the allegations of discrimination. “We are committed to fair and responsible banking and prohibit discrimination of any kind,” a spokesperson said this week. From our review of the claims, we believe the facts to be different than what is alleged. Our employees are trained to help every customer with their banking needs, and our employees follow procedures to facilitate the opening of any new account.” Have you had a big win ruined by bigotry or bureaucracy? Share your story on our social media channels!

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